Caffeine. A widespread addiction that I promised myself I wouldn’t succumb to until college. I rush out my house door while the straw to my tall, flower-covered tumbler filled to the brim with caffeinated iced tea escapes its top. One drink won’t hurt.
I have energy! It’s a whole new me: excited, present, a little on edge, and somehow feeling fully awake at 6:45am. But, I’m late. During the season of Lent, there is an Eucharist service held every Wednesday morning at 7:15 a.m. in the Episcopal School chapel. This is where I’m heading. I timidly step through the large, wooden door and walk to the side area to the right of the sanctuary to sit quietly behind six teachers and one student sitting on the chairs and distributed asymmetrically. Father Skully, the school’s chaplain, is standing at the front of this pious group, leading them in worship and recitation of prayers. I’m embarrassed and trying my best to silently blend in.
“Welcome, Ashley. Can I tell everyone why you’re here? I thought it was such a cool idea,” Father Skully asks. Well, it was a solid try to not distract the service. “Yes, of course!”
My goal for the day is to fit as many-and as wide of a range of- activities and classes as I can in one day at Episcopal, where, if you haven’t guessed by now, I attend. When I started at this school my sophomore year, there was one statement that I always seemed to run into. In fact, it’s written in the school’s mission. The school prides itself in that it “nurtures and develops the whole child- spiritually, intellectually, morally, physically and artistically -through challenging academic and co-curricular programs.” I wanted to test this by searching for as many opportunities as I could find.
7:45 am - 8:00 am: Office Hours
I head to Ms. Kirschner’s room after Chapel to help organize her bountiful bookshelves. She’s not here, but I start to make it a game of how fast I can stack the same titled books and organize enough for the next group who decides to go help out.
8:00 am - 9:40 am: Block 2
After a quick check in with my normal block 2 class, I excitedly venture to the Academic Commons to observe a SRME class. This stands for Scientific Research Methodology and Experimentation. The class is typically taken junior year and can lead into a summer of more specific research at the LSU science labs and a senior year of the class ESTARR (Episcopal Students Take Action in Advanced Research). I’m met with students who are participating in their own scientific research for the class.
When John tells me the name of his project, How Acoustic Waves Effect the Oscillation Rate of the Belousov Zhabotinsky Reaction, I’m definitely as taken aback as you probably are right now. After observing studies consisting of killing cockroaches and cogon grass, I’m struck with the ability of these students to guide their own projects with just quick answers and guidance from Mr. Dennis along the way.
9:40 am - 9:55 am: Break
It’s time for break and I’m ready. I can’t believe how much I’ve already fit into one day and I’m just getting started! Next up are the English classes.
Sitting at the same long, wooden table where last semester I had an English class based on journalism, I join in on Mrs. Sutcliffe’s podcasts class. The beginning of the class is just Mrs. Sutcliffe going over the instructions for the day, but with a joyful twist. She’s eagerly giving her class the reasons why skills used for creating podcasts can be applicable to their lives outside of school. In her words, “why practicing these things we’re practicing could be valuable.”
Once the class is let out to continue working on their own podcasts, I head to Mrs. Kirschner’s room for the second time in the day. A dim, calm, and comfortable atmosphere meets me in her science fiction class as I listen politely to students read segments of their short stories aloud and then receive valuable and respectful feedback. I’m feeling beyond relaxed and like I may fall into a nap if I don’t have another class to move on to.
Awkwardly sneaking into Mrs. Burton’s class, I sit down in the room filled with the light from the movie screen. I’m not sure what movie they are watching, but it’s something to do with a court trial. After the film is finished, Mrs. Burton greets me pleasantly and asks the class to explain its purpose. It’s a class based on media and culture.
I’m in awe with the wide array of the English classes I did and could have visited and glad I was able to see how productive many different lens can be in teaching the same basic lessons needed for college.
By the time block 4 comes around, I’m feeling the typical drag of the day any high school student may have. It’s time for art class and I couldn’t be happier. My group of three is instructed to begin pasting material on Peyton’s hand to make a paper mache mold of a hand. “This material is what they used to use for casts back in the day,” explains Ms. Kate, “but we’ll use it to design.” My mind is allowed to wander as we focus on pasting. “Ow, it’s actually hurting now that it’s drying,” says Peyton. It’s time to take the mold off, and I’m so relaxed I’m not ready to have to leave. I’m so thankful to be able to have a refresh class.
Lunch is quick and filling. I get the little burst of energy I’m going to need to finish the day off. I also remember in angst that I should start drinking more water before track practice later on.
Before this next part, I should explain how inflexible I am. As a prior gymnast at the age of 10, I typically assume I can still do a cartwheel. That is until I continuously try it and continuously fail each time. I’m usually complaining about my back hurting or how I can’t keep my legs straight. Full disclosure, this isn’t the worst. I can barely even reach my feet when I stretch. I couldn’t imagine what dance class would be like. I may be able to get through it, but I’d definitely be embarrassed at some point. I mean, come on, I also extremely struggle to clap on beat to a song. How would I dance to one? And the most intimidating is that I’m assuming the dancers in the class are all well trained in the art.
To my surprise, the class is high energy, welcoming, and completely non judgemental. The atmosphere even allows me to assess that each student was already a dancer when in reality some had just learned this year. The warm up is fun and involves dance motions and stretches. Yes, I struggle, but I’m not embarrassed. I’m relieved and getting into the rhythm of the class. Before my departure, I get to watch the class practice their dance for the upcoming show. Music is flowing through me as I run with it to get to thesis class.
I would’ve been overjoyed to stay longer in dance, but I am determined to not miss much of thesis. This is the first class since after LAUNCH in which we’re beginning to show our final assignment: creating our own class and leading a class one day. David is teaching today and I can’t wait to see how the dynamic of the class feels.
“SHHH! Everyone silent!” David playfully expresses his annoyance with the class becoming too excited to share the city maps they have made. His class is focused on city planning and for the period each student has created their own layout and is in the process of sharing their ideas before the class votes on their favorites. “Hallie, you can go. And by can, I mean have to.” The class bursts into laughter and the silliness continues, but not without a moment to question the meaning.
“Do you think all of y’alls cities were guided by your values?” Mrs. Sutcliffe asks, and we dive into more discussion.
Speaking of discussion, Mr. Engholm’s ethics class is driven by this very thing. We’re discussing A.I. and robots along with the idea of consciousness. My head is already spinning. Zoe turns to me to fill me in on the movie they had watched parts of, “The Imitation Game”, and by doing so allows me to join in. Before I know it, it’s already been 40 minutes and I have to get to my statistics class.
3:30pm: Track Practice
I participated in cross country this year, but decided to take a break from track and field. Going back for practice scared me. I’d tried to keep up with running, but not to the extent that these amazing athletes do. Thankfully, it was a pre-meet practice, which means a little less of a workout. After the team sit down and cheer, we get to the running. “Oh no, I don’t remember it being this hard!” I laugh to Bethany and Tanya. I get a taste of Coach Jones’ jokes and the joyfulness of the team before I fistbump and say goodbye with a thank you.
In the short time between track practice and robotics club, I remembered there was one part of campus I hadn’t gone to yet. The prayer walk. A hidden beauty that provides tranquil moments of peace and allows for sincere contemplation. I walk softly as I read the signs with Bible verses on them. Then, I sit under the pavilion to stretch because I know I’m going to need it after running!
“Oh, hey Clay!” is my reaction when I see just one student waiting for Robotics to start. Dr. McClean comes in soon after and gives the rundown of how their robot needs to be packaged to be sent off safely. I’m filled with ambition and want to help with something. We begin nailing the big wooden crate. By the time I accidentally spill the nails everywhere, I realize I’m probably more in the way than helping. We finish this task and move to the board where a few other members of the team are looking at parts online to buy in order to fix their robot. I’m easily impressed with the knowledge this room holds and the group’s ability to use their curiosity to create something fun and meaningful memories.
7pm: Little Shop of Horrors
There is no better way to end a day of learning about Episcopal than to celebrate some of its insanely talented individuals. Once again, I’m fascinated by the ability of the school’s students and their hard work to showcase their talents. The songs entertain me while I think more seriously about the deeper message to this humorous play.
I’ve made it through the day. With the help of caffeine, but even more because of the excitement these incredible teachers, students, and classes brought with them. Whether it’s through Chapel services, science experiments, art classes, or athletics, Episcopal School of Baton Rouge truly provides opportunities to “develop the whole child.” Its teachers create a comfortable environment for learning that allows for true discovery. All the child has to do is become involved.
Ashley Solomon has been a student at the Episcopal School of Baton Rouge since her sophomore year and is an Honors Diploma student. In addition to her involvement in the Thesis program, she participates in cross country, Mock Trial, and is the community service coordinator for the National Honors Society. Her thesis explores the importance of mental health in adolescents and the effects of implementing therapy dogs in a school setting.
Future Business Professionals
Several Episcopal students spent part of their spring break learning more about investments and the management of public companies at the 23rd Annual Burkenroad Reports Investment Conference hosted by the Tulane University A.B. Freeman School of Business. Such an experience could help them someday continue the Episcopal tradition of entrepreneurship. Read more about that tradition in a previous blog post here here.
Tops in Math!
Episcopal School of Baton Rouge congratulates tenth grader Abhay Basireddy for scoring in the top 2.5% on the American Mathematics Competitions 10 (AMC 10 A) exam. Nationwide, more than 42,000 students from 1,920 schools took the exam, which consists of 25 multiple choice questions covering mathematics curriculum up to the tenth grade. By scoring in the top 2.5%, Basireddy is now qualified to take the American Invitational Mathematics Exam, along with 2,730 other students from across the country.
In addition, three other Episcopal students scored in the top 25% nationally on the AMC 10 A. Episcopal congratulates the following:
Justin Dynes – ninth grade
Alex Nelson – tenth grade
Arya Patel – ninth grade
All four Episcopal students are members of the school’s Mu Alpha Theta math team, which recently placed fifth overall at the Louisiana Mu Alpha Theta state convention.
Toutes nos félicitations
Essay Contest Winner
Episcopal Students Win National Latin Exam Awards
The National Latin Exam, sponsored by the American Classical League and the National Junior Classical League, is a 40 question, multiple choice test, offered to students on seven levels. Students encounter questions on grammar, comprehension, mythology, derivatives, literature, Roman life, history, geography, oral Latin and Latin in use in the modern world.
Of the 44 Episcopal students that took the 2019 National Latin Exam, 20 earned awards. This year over 139,000 students from all 50 states and the District of Columbia and 20 foreign countries took the exam. Congratulations to this year’s award winners!
State Literary Rally Success
Episcopal students had a great showing at the recent State Literary Rally held at LSU. Congratulations to the following:
District II Literary Events:
District II State Open Events:
This year’s Youth Legislature team had tremendous success! Congratulations to everyone.
Two Episcopal students were elected officers.
Libbie Kelly – Governor’s Cabinet - Secretary of State/Press Secretary
Riley Ewing – Speaker of the House
The Episcopal team successfully passed ten bills.
Free Prosthetics for Veterans – Ryann Richard, John Luke Boagni
Sports for Disabled Kids – Shreya Kamath and Amelia Pleasant
Solar Installation Tax Incentives – Joey Roth and Jada Crawford
Urea Ammonium Nitrate Control Act – Mia Pulliam and Carter McLean
Weapon Protection for Schools – Sarah Theriot and Suzie Heneghan
Homes for the Homeless – Tori Pierce and Nidhi Sthanki
Diabetic Supplies for the Uninsured – Katherine Fivgas and Claire Kiesel
Online Privacy Act – Hayden Singh and Pearson Spender
Protecting the Marshlands – Jacob Bruser and Jacob Jones
Save the Bees – Sarah Laiche and Alexandra Streuli
Several Episcopal students were selected for the Youth Legislature Hall of Fame.
Laura Jane Kirkpatrick
Congratulations to Anna Katherine Harrell for being named the Outstanding Photojournalist.
State Tournament Success
Episcopal golfers had a great showing at the recent state tournament. The girls finished as the Division II State Runner Up! Riely Heaslip and Caroline Glynn shot a two day score of 324! Riely finished as the third place medalist in the tournament. Freshman Boyd Owens finished as State Runner Up with a two day 36 hole score of 145.
The Episcopal boys tennis team won the 2019 Division III State Championship title!
Episcopal placed fifth overall at the Louisiana Mu Alpha Theta State Convention in Baton Rouge. This is only the second time in eight years that Episcopal has placed in the top five and ties the team's best finish in those eight years! The 37 Episcopal students competed against 753 students from 33 schools. Congratulations on this tremendous accomplishment!
Individual Test Awards –
Theta – 10th Joy Lee
Alpha – 3rd Abhay Basireddy
Mu A – 12th Lara Rende
Mu B – 14th Arohi Gopal
Area Test Awards –
Alpha Advanced Math – 4th James Christian and 16th Shuhei Niwano
Alpha Trigonometry – 13th Justin Dynes and 14th Katie Knight
Open Functions – 1st Abhay Basireddy
Open Statistics - 1st Elaine Gboloo
Mu Integration – 4th Lara Rende
Mu Differentiation – 5th Clay Burton and 12th Mason LaFerney
Mu B – 3rd Arohi Gopal, 4th Nicholas Johannessen, 8th Alex Nelson, and 13th Gautam Mahes
Game/Team Awards –
Descartes Theta – 6th Laura Gboloo
Descartes Alpha – 4th Tochi Mbagwu
Descartes Mu B – 4th Matthew Bickham
Theta Gemini – 3rd Joy Lee and Eugene Jiang
Alpha Math Bowl – 5th Abhay Basireddy, James Christian, Justin Dynes, KC Shimada
Mu A Math Bowl – 5th Ellie Sim, Lara Rende, Mason LaFerney, and Clay Burton
Mu B Math Bowl – 6th Nicholas Johannessen, Adam Reid, Gautam Mahes, and Gracie Veillon
Alpha Top Cipherer - Abhay Basireddy
Overall School Awards –
8th Theta Interschool
2nd Alpha Interschool
5th Mu Interschool
Essay Contest Finalist
New Permanent Art Exhibit Members
Congratulations to the newest members of the Episcopal permanent art exhibit.
Mady Eichelberger, 5th grade “Owl In Flight” Lino print on paper
Eva Worrell, 8th grade “Still-Life Puzzle” Charcoal in paper
Erin Petty, 12th grade “Limited Colors” Acrylic on canvas
Each year, the Episcopal art teachers select artwork from a rising fifth grader, a rising eighth grader and a graduating senior to add to the school’s permanent student art exhibit. The exhibit is a celebration of the individual student contributions to Episcopal and the school’s commitment to arts education.
Episcopal Artists on Display at Baton Rouge Gallery
Five Episcopal AP art students are sharing their work with the Baton Rouge community. Caitlin Davis, Sophia Graves, Claire Hook, Katie Knight and Ian Sabolik were selected to participate in "The Real-Life Experience" Juried High School Exhibition. In addition, Katie Knight was selected to apply for the Paul A. Dufour & Julia Dufour Richardson Scholarship. The scholarship awards high school students an opportunity for private mentorship from a local artist. Katie’s work entitled “Allyson” also earned honorable mention. According to the Gallery website, the exhibition features over 50 works of original art produced by students from East Baton Rouge public and private high schools. More than 240 works were submitted for inclusion in the exhibition. The exhibition is on display from now until April 25th.
LAUNCH at Ebb and Flow Festival
Seniors Lauren Smith and Ethan Wax are bringing their thesis LAUNCH presentations to the Ebb and Flow Festival this weekend. Join them downtown on Sunday from 2:30 pm to 3 pm at the IDEA Stage. The Ebb & Flow Festival is an annual event featuring visual art, film, music and local cultural offerings. To read more about the festival, click here. To learn more about LAUNCH, click here.
Poster Contest Winner
Three Episcopal students were chosen as the winners of the Louisiana Chapter of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese 2019 Poster Contest for their original digital poster entries in the 9-12 Category.
Congratulations to the following students:
First place: Ruby Friloux ’22
Second place: Mollie Hyde ’21
Third place: Ashton Wood ’20
The contest is sponsored by the National Hispanic Honor Society Chapter “El Buen Pastor” at Episcopal. The goal is to verbalize the appreciation for other languages and cultures, to promote creative thinking and to encourage cross-curriculum collaboration. Madeleine Cope ’19 and Alex Nelson ’21 organized the contest with assistance from the Comp Design class. The winners will represent Louisiana at the National Poster Competition, with the final judging taking place in May.
National Honor Society
Congratulations to this year's inductees!
The National Honor Society is a nationwide organization which recognizes those high school students who excel in the areas of scholarship, leadership, service and character. Juniors and seniors who have maintained at 3.67 GPA in the core classes (foreign language, science, social studies, mathematics and English) and who have demonstrated excellence in the areas of scholarship, leadership, service and character to a faculty council are selected for membership.
Episcopal’s KnightVision robotics team is headed to the world championship competition! The team earned a spot in the finals after winning the 2019 Bayou Regional competition, which included 60 high school robotics teams. The Knights were part of the winning alliance, which included Team Chaos and Team Fusion. The championship competition is set for April 17th – 20th in Houston.
Earlier this school year, high school robotics teams received their assignment from organizers at FIRST Robotics. This year’s build theme is DESTINATION: DEEP SPACE. The competition arena is staged with mock rockets and teams are tasked with attaching hatch panels and loading cargo into a cargo ship. Teams had six weeks to build and program a robot that could accomplish these tasks timely and accurately.
KnightVision team members spent considerable time in the Design Studio, building this year’s bot. Team members exhibited impressive mechanical skills and adaptability when faced with a problem. Advisor Dr. Jeff McLean says the team also spent time while at the Rock City competition in Little Rock working on the robot to further boost the performance. The effort paid off and the students are now quite good at delivering the cargo with the robot. In the Bayou Regional, Dr. McLean says the squad faced technical challenges that they were able to quickly work through in order to continue competing. Such an ability to recover from adversity made KnightVision worthy of an alliance with the top two teams in the event.
According to the FIRST Robotics website, a robotics competition combines the “excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology.” Robotics events include all the fanfare of a sporting event with an announcer, team shirts and team banners. The events are a great way for students to build camaraderie and create alliances with students with similar interests. At the Bayou Regional, Episcopal students had the opportunity to compete against local students, as well as students from as far away as the Netherlands. This sense of community and team pride makes robotics a meaningful experience for participants.
There is more to robotics than tinkering and test driving. According to the FIRST Robotics Impact report, FIRST participants are significantly more likely to be interested in science, technology, engineering and math and related careers than a comparison group of students. The FIRST report also includes the following statistics:
In addition, the FIRST report shows that participants display greater improvements in communication, conflict resolution, time management and problem solving.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 8.8 million science, technology, engineering and math jobs in May 2016, representing 6.3% of overall employment. A robotics experience can help students determine if such a career is the right choice and the more than $80 million in scholarships available to students involved in FIRST robotics can make that dream a reality. These scholarships are offered by universities across the country, including LSU, Tulane and University of New Orleans.
Before they launch their career, KnightVision team members are first focusing on that world championship competition. Good luck in Houston! The Episcopal community is cheering you on to victory!
This year’s team is advised by Dr. Jeff McLean and Dr. Xiaoyue Jiang. This year's team sponsors are Leidos, the Honeycutt Family and Turner Industries. Thank you for your support!
Congratulations to the following KnightVision team members:
One day earlier this fall, Addie came across “The Pulsera Project” online. She approached us about engaging with the project for the AP-WE service aspect of our AP Spanish class. We immediately were interested and thought that the project would be a great service project for the Episcopal community; a project which would help raise awareness and money for some of the prevalent issues in the Central American communities of Nicaragua and Guatemala. However, we had no idea how much teamwork, planning, brainstorming, and problem-solving would go into the execution of the project here on campus. We are greatly appreciative of all who have helped us on every step of the way, especially Dr. Alvarez who has shown us constant support and help. Looking back on the day when Addie came across the project makes us laugh, but it also inspires feelings of pride and excitement. Every day since September we have pushed ourselves in ways which we have never been pushed and have put together a project which is so much more meaningful and full of community than we ever would have imagined. And it has been totally worth it.
To give a little background on the project, El Proyecto Pulsera or the Pulsera project is a non-profit organization that partners with student-led groups around the US to sell Pulseras (AKA bracelets) made by artists in Nicaragua and Guatemala. The project allows for students in the US and families in Central America to become a part of an empowering experience. We chose to make this project more than just “selling” bracelets and more about sharing the values of the project to encourage global citizenship. A few of the values that we decided to focus on are poverty in Latin America, Solidarity v. Charity, the importance of Fair Trade, and awareness of global issues.
Soon after meeting with Mrs. Spencer and Father Skully we knew that we needed to make the project about more than just selling the Pulseras one day at lunch and then sending back the money. We needed to make the project meaningful, not only for us but also for the entire student body and faculty. We did some research on the Pulsera Project website and searched through their list of values and picked out a few of our favorites. We made it our goal to dive into the four values which we felt represented the project and what it stands for. We felt that these values would be beneficial and educational to share with the rest of the student body. On Monday, March 18, we presented to the upper school during our assembly time about each of the values and more about the project in hopes of not only promoting the sale but also sharing our passion about the foundational values with the student body. We also presented to the middle school during their morning meeting on Tuesday, March 19. Our goal was to demonstrate that the bracelets represent the values and the artists’ individual stories; they are not just a bracelet that one could buy anywhere.
Additionally, we wanted to involve all three divisions and turn what was first just going to be a sale, into what we decided to call “Pulsera Weeks.” Leading up to these weeks which are taking place right now on campus, until April 1st, we needed to get teachers and other students excited. We presented at the middle and upper school faculty meetings about the Pulsera Project and its values and proposed three tiers of involvement. The first level was the Pulsera Fan, a teacher who simply wanted to help promote the project verbally or by putting flyers up in their classroom or writing reminders on the board. The second level was the Pulsera Influencer, a teacher who was interested in teaching a short lesson which incorporated the values of the project. We helped the teachers who signed up to be Influencers by sending them suggestions for lessons which we handpicked from the Pulsera Project website. The highest level of involvement was the Pulsera Agent of Change, a teacher who was interested in doing a long term project or was interested in getting involved directly with the project and organization. We had 27 middle and upper school teachers sign up to get involved. We then made our priority to contact these teachers directly about their next steps. As teachers begin to teach their lessons covering a wide range of subjects and values, we are excited to see how the project continues to spread throughout the community.
Once we realized this was going to be an extensive project that involved almost everyone on campus, we knew that we had to do something in the advisories. Thomas thought of the letter writing activity and planned it out. The activity was completed by students on March 21st. The advisory was given a bio of an artist in either Nicaragua or Guatemala. The artist’s bios were translated into English as a supplement to the Spanish bios so that all of the students and advisors could engage in the activity regardless of their fluency in Spanish. However, the students who understood Spanish were encouraged to help write the advisory’s letter in Spanish which provided an opportunity for Episcopal students that speak Spanish to take the lead of the advisory activity. Students then wrote a letter in either English or Spanish to the artist that they recently read about. Student letters ranged from questions to encouragement to life comparisons between the US and Central America. Each letter will be sent to the artist along with a picture of the advisory and advisor. We hope that this advisory activity will help further illustrate the positive aspects of collaboration so that we may get to know the culture and lifestyles of people living in these Central American communities, with the goal of helping them gain the resources they need to live better lives and creating awareness about global issues in schools around the United States.
Both the middle and lower school have been an integral part of the Pulsera Project success at Episcopal. We divided and conquered and Maia and Christine got in touch with Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Henderson about involving the lower and middle school in the sharing of the project’s values and also in the sale. Mrs. Smith mentioned to us that Mrs. St. George, the eighth grade World Geography teacher was interested in incorporating the project somehow in her classes and Mrs. Henderson told us to talk to Mrs. Boudreaux and the fifth grade teachers, since we came to the conclusion that many of the topics from the project may be too mature for lower school students below fifth grade to grasp. We formulated a plan with both Mrs. St. George and Mrs. Boudreaux to involve the lower divisions in the project. With Mrs. St. George’s eighth grade classes, we planned a lesson that taught and created awareness about schooling in Nicaragua and how many families cannot afford to send their children to school because they need to work during the day, or cannot afford the uniforms required for school. We centered the lesson around larger discussion questions which inspire thinking such as whether or not education is a natural right, or if there were any possible solutions to make education more readily available and affordable for these Nicaraguan families. The entire Pulsera Team went and taught the lesson for one block and Mrs. St. George continued the lesson with the rest of her blocks. Additionally, we went and spoke to the fifth graders about the values and the project. We were pleased when a group of fifth grade students came forward after our presentation and showed interest in being part of a fifth grade team of representatives for the Pulsera Project. Our hope is to meet with these students and collaborate with them so they can act as leaders and promoters of the project and its values in the lower school. The fifth grade has already bought 200 Pulseras and will be selling them in their Global Market this April.
The Pulsera sale started Monday the 18th and will continue through April 1. We will have 2 more sales for upper school in front of the clock tower in the quad during lunch on Tuesday, March 26 and Friday, March 29. We will also be having a middle school sale on Tuesday, March 26 in the rain garden during their morning break. Our goal is to inspire members of the student body to spread awareness and help others. Economic aid is just one part of the mutual exchange from The Pulsera Project which also includes the sharing of knowledge, ideas, and life experiences for the benefit of all. On top of the impact abroad, pulsera sales change the lives of students in the U.S. as well, educating them about life in Central America while cultivating student leadership and awareness of global social issues. Each bracelet represents the values of the project and the hard work and creativity that was put into each work of art.
Please consider coming out and purchasing a Pulsera for $5 or asking us a question about any aspect of the project and its values! Thank you for all of your support already. We are looking forward to hopefully selling all of the 600 Pulseras that were sent to us and possibly another entire shipment which we have requested. Our collective support at Episcopal will go towards empowering nearly 200 Central American artists by providing fair trade jobs, housing programs, scholarships, healthcare, and more!
A singer. A cheerleader. A volleyball player. A cross country runner. Episcopal ESTAAR students do so much more than hundreds of hours of science research, presentations and discoveries. These students are juggling the demands of high school with the excitement, rigor and promise of science exploration.
Episcopal Students Take Action in Advanced Research or ESTAAR formally started during the 2012/2013 school year. Dr. Jewel Reuter and Sarah Pulliam worked together to establish the program and the partnerships needed with LSU. Dean of Academics Dr. Sara Fenske says participating Upper School students are partnered with university professors and have the opportunity for real, hands-on lab work. The students lead their own research project where they seek to determine the answer to a scientific question of their choosing. LSU professor Dr. Kevin McPeak, who has worked with ESTAAR students in his lab, says the program is a great opportunity for high school students to gain hands-on experience in science research. "Gaining exposure to nationally competitive science and engineering research programs can be a daunting task for even the most talented high school students,” he says. “ESTAAR provides this opportunity along with a joint LSU-Episcopal support network to ensure the student maximizes their learning experience.”
The opportunity for university lab time as a high school student is extraordinary. Dr. Fenske says to ensure that students are prepared for this caliber of work, they must enroll in a Scientific Research Methodology and Experimentation course in their junior year. The course covers a range of information including basic lab skills, experimental design, communication skills in science, ethics in scientific research, and how to collect and analyze data. After the first semester of the class, students apply to participate in ESTAAR. They are then matched with professors who work in the students’ field of interest.
Three members of the class of 2019 are wrapping up their ESTAAR experience. Clay Burton, Emily Frazer and Abby Johnson all recently presented at the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium at LSU. The experience requires high school students to stand in a room before a panel of judges comprised of professors, researchers and scientific experts and explain their findings. Such an experience requires a deep understanding of the scientific research process and tremendous confidence. In addition to presenting at the symposium, students also presented their research before their classmates at the annual LAUNCH event. The students were poised and spoke with authority.
Confidence is one of the hidden benefits of participating in the ESTAAR program. Dr. Fenske says while the scientific opportunities are exceptional, the life lessons students walk away with should not be underestimated. “I have gained the experience on a college campus all summer while getting to know and interact with professors and graduate school students,” says ESTAAR student Emily Frazer, who presented the Effect of Temperature on Development and Fertility of Nipponaclerda Biwakonesis Scale on Phragmites Cane. “I loved the confidence that I gained from being pushed out of my comfort zone both in science and in speaking.”
Another tremendous benefit from ESTAAR participation is experiencing scientific research first hand. ESTAAR students are designing experiments, conducting the actual research and analyzing the results. Such hands-on learning helps participants further define what their long term career goals should be. “I have learned what it’s like to have a job as a scientist,” says Clay Burton, who presented Using the Urea-Urease Reaction to Control Polymerization. “This has helped guide me in what I want to pursue in college and in my career.” “I initially wanted to participate in ESTAAR to help determine what type of career I wanted to have in the future,” says Abby Johnson, who presented Sonication-Assisted Self-Assembly of Polystyrene Nanosphere Monolayers. “As someone who has always had a wide range of interests from English and foreign language to sciences like chemistry, I wanted to see if ESTAAR could provide me with some clarity in deciding what careers I would enjoy pursuing in the future.”
Based on the experiences of the 2019 participants and the opportunities gained by previous ESTAAR students, the program certainly places these future scientists on a path toward success.
"I'm helping the world."
Avani Alapati ’15 is currently pursuing a neuroscience major and music minor at Rhodes College in Memphis. While at Episcopal, Avani participated in the ESTAAR program where she studied ways to prevent crop destruction due to a particular worm in Louisiana. The pest causes problems for rice and soy plants, which are key commodities in the region, and Avani spent time in an LSU lab studying affordable ways to eradicate the worm. “It made me love research,” she says. “I felt like I was helping the world, the farmers.”
Avani earned second place in the plant sciences division at the district Intel Science and Engineering Fair for her work and later went on to earn honorable mention at the state level Intel competition. In addition, she won the Veterans Award for Science. By her senior year at Episcopal, Avani knew what she wanted to do in college. “I was always into science and math,” she says. “Because of ESTAAR I was able to do both.” That love for science reasoning, combined with her natural creativity made Rhodes College the perfect fit for Avani. While at Rhodes she has continued her scientific pursuits. Early in her school career she worked as an animal behavior observer at the Memphis Zoo. She has also participated in research involving the potential impacts that environmental enrichment, such as yoga and meditation can have on patients with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.
Avani is fearless in her pursuit of information and eager to learn more about the topics that interest her. This passion for science and her ESTAAR experience earned Avani the sole neuroscience fellowship offered by the University of Tennessee Medical School for study at Rhodes. Even as she dons her lab coat and focuses on her research, Avani still finds time to sing. She hopes to use her scientific abilities and her creative strengths to continue helping the world.
"I love science."
It’s safe to say that Estelle Crawford ’17 loves science. As a young girl her home was filled with experiments and projects inspired by a 1001 Science Experiments book that her mom, Liz, still has today.
Estelle says initially the ESTAAR science research course was a struggle as she trudged through experiments with no real results. Then it happened. After the trial and error, she got results. “This is science. This is working. This is what is happening,” she remembers saying. Just like lighting a Bunsen burner, Estelle’s former love of science was once again sparked. As an ESTAAR participant, she spent hours in the LSU lab assisting Dr. McPeak and his team on water purification research. Those hours and her passion paid off in a big way. As Estelle interviewed with universities for admissions, they were impressed with her time in the lab. College admissions officers reminded her on numerous occasions to discuss ESTAAR and her lab experience in her interviews with department staff. “I didn’t realize the exposure was a big deal,” says Estelle. “It prepared me for classes. I was ready.” Estelle was ultimately accepted to Birmingham Southern. She earned the Rushton Scholarship, which covered tuition and expenses. “ESTAAR was a huge part of that,” she says.
“I learned so many things about myself,” Estelle says of the ESTAAR experience. She remembers initially being intimidated to walk across a college campus. However, she developed the confidence to take that walk, enter the lab and speak with her professors. Now at Birmingham Southern she is pursuing a major in biology and a minor in psychology with the hopes of earning a PhD.
Preparing Future Science Stars
As of this May, 22 Episcopal students will have completed the ESTAAR program, including recent graduate Scott Wicker ’18. Wicker presented Non-Traditional Heating Methods for Petrochemical Manufacturing last year at the LSU regional symposium. As a result of his work and his presentation, he qualified to present at the 56th National Junior Science and Humanities Symposium. He was only one of 230 high school students who qualified. In addition, Scott won first place in his category at the Region VII Science Fair and third place at the State Science Fair.
Episcopal Students Take Action in Advanced Research is a tremendous opportunity for students to distinguish themselves in high school, college and beyond. Many of these students are pursuing degrees in science and some have already begun a science-related career. Regardless of their long term goals, all of them have developed the confidence and problem-solving abilities to make a difference in our world.
Read More about ESTAAR
ESTAAR students have been published for their contributions to scientific research. Connor Pellerin ’17 was a part of a paper published by the University of North Carolina Press regarding research on coastal habitats. Click here to see the paper.
You can learn more about Connor and last year's ESTAAR participant, Scott Wicker '18, by reading Head of School Hugh McIntosh's Academic Points blog post here.
Four Upper School Episcopal students recently attended the Annual Louisiana Junior Classical League Convention. The students were coached and lead by Episocopal’s JCL sponsor and Latin/Spanish teacher, Micheal Posey.
The Upper Latin certamen team (think quiz-bowl for the Classically-minded) was captained by 10th grader, Abhay Basireddy and included fellow, 10th grader, Madi Bell. Certamen teams usually field teams of four players. Even against those odds, Basireddy and Bell placed 3rd in the state for Upper Latin Certamen. Episcopal’s small delegation also placed 3rd in the Ludi Spirit Contest during Friday’s opening assembly.
At the LJCL Convention, students participated in academic, creative and graphic arts contests as well as seminars, workshops, a Roman banquet, dance and karaoke. The students also captured the following individual awards:
Abhay Basireddy: Latin III
1st place: Latin Derivatives
1st place: Latin Grammar
1st place: Latin Mottoes, Phrases and Abbreviations
1st place: Latin Reading Comprehension
2nd place: Latin Vocabulary
3rd place: Upper Level Certamen
4th place: Roman Life and Customs
5th place: Latin III: Latin Sight Reading
5th place: Marathon (Olympika)
7th place: Academic Sweepstakes (all levels!)
Madi Bell: Latin IV
3rd place: Upper Level Certamen
4th place: Latin vocabulary
4th place: Latin Reading Comprehension
5th place: Latin Grammar
5th place: Academic Decathlon
Justin Dynes: Latin III
3rd place: Latin Grammar
2nd place: Latin Reading Comprehension
Arya Patel: Latin III
1st place: Map (Creative)
2nd place: Ink (Creative)
3rd place: Latin Vocabulary
3rd place: Latin Reading Comprehension
3rd place: Latin Derivatives